Measure J proposes to take advantage of the moment to make a good business deal, to accelerate the construction of already approved transportation improvements, and to share the costs with additional taxpayers. This is a proposal worthy of being supported.
In 2008, voters approved Measure R, which put in motion a future vision of public transportation by increasing the sale tax by a half-cent for a period of 30 years. Measure J extends that sales tax for an additional 30 years beyond 2039 in order to accelerate construction of Measure R projects, in some cases, by as much as 15 years.
The measure basically assures funds for the future by securing government loans at the current low interest rates and taking advantage of the increased amount of money in a federal fund for public transportation.
Passing this measure will permit dividing the cost of public transportation projects between the current generation of today’s taxpayers and those of tomorrow. In that way, both can enjoy the results.
It’s a perfect plan that will also create more jobs in the region.
One questionable part, however, is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). Our concerns are well founded. The agency, which stands to be assured of $90 billion, doesn’t have a good track record with controlling costs. The elected members of the MTA Board, who represent the public, must be sure to monitor the process carefully.
At the same time, it is also unfortunate that busses are still considered a secondary tier of the public transportation system in our city. The measure is not about busses, but it seems that looking forward, busses aren’t considered one of the priorities in the city’s public transportation. Los Angeles does not have a well-integrated public transportation system as do other large metropolitan areas.
That being said, a vote against the measure wouldn’t improve the current bus system nor would it help anyone. On the contrary, the reality is that riders today and over the next decade can all benefit from the measure’s passage.
This proposal will help Los Angeles make progress. Vote Yes on Measure J.